Happy Siblings Day! (Hug an Only Child)

According to the Facebook posts, today is National Siblings Day.  I don’t know exactly who thought this one up–but I suspect that it is a day for people to share cute photos, and therefore, it came into existence after social media decided to take over the world.

I’ve been thinking a lot of family lately.  We took a trip last weekend to a neighboring state to visit with some of the isolated friends that live there.  There are two families and no one else for miles around.  The first family has five kids and the second has twelve…  Yes, you heard me right… twelve…  It is that family of twelve that recently gave us our latest sister worker.  Both families live humble lives on farms, and the way they work together to survive is admirable.

Sometimes we talk about how selfish it is for us to have had Rocky here in the city–when all he wanted was a place to run around and smell.  It feels like that with Ale too.  She was in her element on the farm!  She wasn’t afraid of wondering in and outside with the others.  They took her to watch the cow being milked, and later the baby lambs drinking from bottles.  She would come inside the kitchen (which is a separate entrance from the interior of the house) and ask for a drink or a snack.  How I wish that we had some land she could play on!

And how I wish she had family nearby.

Sweet Ale doesn’t have siblings yet, and that is always painfully apparent when she is with other children.  She really loved one of the babies (10 months), and kept trying to feed her a bottle.  Another little boy would grab her by the hand and pull her off to look at the animals, and it wasn’t long before she asked to see the “coco.”  (Cócono is another word for turkey.)

Because she doesn’t have siblings, Ale has learned to play alone.  But watching her entertain herself makes me think of how I would play with my siblings and cousins.

Ale is content.  She is building blocks and singing to herself as I write this.  She has never had a brother knock down her towers of blocks–and she doesn’t yet know the pleasure of singing with her sisters.  She just finished swimming outside in her plastic pool, and it won’t be long before we head to bed.  Ale doesn’t know what it is like to have a brother to hang onto, but she hangs onto us in the pool.  She will be sleeping with us too–because I can’t bear to have her sleep in her own bed without a sister to cuddle.  And tomorrow, we will read countless books together, because she has to learn the right way to read before a little sibling begs for story-time.  She just brought me a piece of plastic cake and I pretend to eat it, but one day she will know the joy of making mud pies in the back yard with siblings in tow.  Ale doesn’t know what she is missing, but I sure do…

Happy Siblings Day!

 

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The First Thanksgiving

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You know, after you’ve been living in another country for almost two years there are few “firsts” left to experience. So I was surprised when I realized that this was my first Thanksgiving away from home. Then I promptly cried in front of my coworkers.

It’s Ale’s first Thanksgiving, so I made her an outfit that she will some day laugh at.

It’s our first Thanksgiving together as husband and wife (Last year I went home).

It’s the first time I’ve made turkey and dressing.

It’s our first Mexican Thanksgiving–so we had Mexican and Americans dining together in the true spirit of the day.

It’s the first time I’ve had to explain the significance of Thanksgiving to anyone.

Thanksgiving was always one of my favorite holidays. It isn’t the turkey–honestly, I could live without it. While I love pie, it isn’t that either. It’s the whole getting-together-with-family that makes it special!

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A couple years ago my mamaw’s Alzheimer’s won out over our favorite holiday. My mama admitted that the holiday wasn’t as much fun as it once had been. So, I made it my mission to have my own Thanksgiving with my mama. We made all the staples together: and even pulled out Mamaw’s recipe book to make her recipes.

Last night I flipped through my book looking for pumpkin pie, and my Mamaw’s handwriting popped out from one page. I looked on it with love and determination. Love for the amazing women who’ve labored on a day like this–and determination to pass on that same love by being a better mama and wife.

Victor said something that I think is really valid about today. He said, “In the United States, one woman cooks for everyone. She does it because her family is important. She just wants them there with her.” I had more than my family with me today–but I think about the moments leading up to that one meal. My baby crawling around singing a constant hum. My husband telling me stories and listening to me talk about my coworkers. The laughter we shared over something the baby did. Laying on the floor of the kitchen to nurse in between preparing the pie and turkey. Multiple trips to the store for supplies.

And now the baby and my husband are by my side. Our bellies are full of sweet potatoes and turkey. We are snuggled up and ready to beat the cold desert night together…

It’s my first Thanksgiving with my family, and we kept the family tradition alive. I’m thankful for my 28 Thanksgivings with my Mama and Mamaw–and for this, our first, as a Mama and daughter team. The Thanksgiving tradition will continue…

20131128-222529.jpgMamaw’s dressing–as dictated by my Mama and made by me.

Home Visit

Maci and Ale

I watched my baby last night–she was laying on a blanket in the floor, and Mama was “gettin’ her.”  In the South, that means that she was tickling her tummy all the while saying, “I’m gonna getcha, getcha, getcha!”  Alexandria laughed and laughed.  The sound makes my heart so happy.

During the night, she snuggles up to me like never before.  I can’t decide if this is because she’s extra snuggly (being away from her daddy and home), or if it has something to do with the pillow-top mattress we sleep on.  Hard Mexican beds don’t allow for a lot of movement during the night.  She cuddles up beside me, and I look down to see her cubby little arms tucked between us.  This morning Mama took her and played with her–letting me get a few extra winks.

At gospel meeting yesterday, she sat up on my lap.  It makes me sad that her papi couldn’t see her.  She was (is) so big!  Her cousins (from the youngest to the oldest) wanted to play with her during meeting.  I remember that, you know.  I loved sitting with my nephews in Omaha.  It gave me something to do other than listen…  Hence the reason why I said, “No” when my very capable niece wanted to hold Ale.

Oh, sweet Ale!  She is so loved!  My suegra (mother-in-law) loves it when her son tells her everyone loves our baby.  It makes me so content and proud to see everyone loving on my baby.  She’s got an important role, I just know it.  There’s a place that she’ll fill someday–maybe just giving unconditional love to God’s children!  Only he knows, but I hope he empowers me us to raise a beautiful, strong, kind, and helpful young woman.

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